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Our client was injured when the scaffold he was working on collapsed, causing him to fall over 20 feet. He sustained serious injuries, including numerous fractures of pelvis and wrist, as well as a traumatic brain injury. Defendants contended that Plaintiff made a reasonable recovery. Defendant’s experts also disputed that Plaintiff sustained a traumatic brain injury, claiming that he merely had a mild concussion that fully resolved. Summary judgment was granted to the plaintiff on the issue of liability, which was followed by the filing of an appeal and motions by the defense. Liability nevertheless remained in Plaintiff’s favor, and the case settled at mediation shortly before trial for a present value of $20,000,000, making it one of the largest settlements of the year.
A worker died in a tragic construction accident when an improperly secured load of steel joists/beams fell from a loading fork of a crane, knocking him a scaffold and then falling on top of him, at which point he was pinned to the concrete floor of the construction site. The force of the impact and weight of these steel joists/beams resulted in catastrophic blunt injuries. Sadly, this worker, who was a father of six and a husband, died within hours of the incident. Evidence introduced by plaintiff established that the decedent was conscious and experienced pain and suffering for over 40 agonizing minutes. Mr. Shapiro relied on the opinions of multiple medical doctors to establish how the injuries sustained resulted in severe pain and, ultimately, suffocation. The court awarded $2,000,000 for pre-impact terror experienced by the decedent and $7,500,000 for the period of conscious pain and suffering. In addition, the court awarded over $1.5million for the pecuniary losses to decedent’s family.
The sad facts of this case illustrate, yet again, how corners are cut at construction sites and workers to save on costs, particularly undocumented residents as the decedent was in this case, are not provided with the proper safety devices that are mandated by law.
Worker fell off the roof of a one-story building. Plaintiff asserted various violations of applicable safety laws, including labor law. Damages involved in the action included pelvic and other fractures, as well as TBI. The defense maintained that Plaintiff made a reasonable recovery under the circumstances and had sufficient function to continue using his cell phone independently. Our office retained multiple medical experts, neurologists, orthopedist, psychiatrist, and life care planners, who were expected to testify that the Plaintiff was disabled for the rest of his life and required assistance from home attendants. The case settled at mediation after being placed on the trial calendar.
An undocumented construction worker, who was not provided with the necessary fall protection, died as a result of falling from the roof. The worker became unconscious after the fall and did not regain consciousness before his death. An action was commenced against the property owner and general contractor. The case involved a one-family home, so the defense invoked the liability exclusion available to owners of one to two family homes under Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6). With respect to the general contractor, there was a complete disclaimer of any insurance coverage by the insurance carrier of the general contractor, who had a one-million-dollar insurance policy limit. Excess insurance carrier likewise disclaimed any insurance coverage. As a result, in addition to the action commenced by Mr. Shapiro in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Mr. Shapiro also represented the estate administrator of the decedent in a related action in federal court where the issue was the validity of the insurance disclaimer. With respect to the federal court disclaimer action, Mr. Shapiro argued that the subject disclaimer was invalid because of, among other things, that the insurance exclusion on which it was based was ambiguous and unenforceable. Insurance carrier, of course, disputed this position. During the pendency of both actions, the parties were able to negotiate a settlement.
Mr. Shapiro obtained this settlement for a bicyclist hit by a sedan. Primary injuries included pelvic fractures.
A woman in her 70s purchased a freshwater fish from a retailer in Brooklyn. The fish was not farm-raised and harvested in the wild. After thoroughly cooking the fish, the woman developed kidney failure. She was hospitalized but the physicians were unable to identify the cause of her condition. Her kidney function was restored, but several weeks after the initial hospital admission, she developed a stroke, which led to her death. After the unfortunate death of this woman, her son cleared her refrigerator and brought food to his own house, including the fish. Like his mother, our client also developed kidney issues after consuming fully cooked fish and went to the same hospital where his mother was last treated. At that point, the physicians suspected the fish as the culprit, and samples were sent to an FDA lab. The lab was not able to identify any toxins in the fish, but physicians suspected a condition known as Haff’s disease, which is caused by a thermo-resistant toxin that is yet to be identified.
A civil action was commenced against the retailer and the fish distributor, asserting claims for products liability, breach of implied warranties, and violations of New York’s Agriculture and Markets Law. Defendants argued that there was no test available in existence today to detect this toxin, that the fish was wild-caught and that they had no responsibility for what happened.
In response, Mr. Shapiro argued that the fish industry should establish tests to detect this toxin and protect the public and that by selling the product defendants impliedly represented that the fish was safe to eat. After Mr. Shapiro prepared a summary judgment brief, this highly disputed case settled at mediation for $1,000,000. Multiple experts were retained for this action by Mr. Shapiro, including a neurologist, nephrologist, urologist, and a doctor of chemistry.
Mr. Shapiro’s client, at that time 67 years old, was exiting an elevator in her building in Brooklyn and tripped and fell due to elevator misleveling. As a result, the client sustained fractures of her femoral head, requiring open reduction and internal fixation surgery. Approximately 26 hours after the accident, when the client was already in a local hospital, she developed a stroke. A civil action was commenced against building owner, management company and elevator maintenance company. Defendants in that case argued that there was no causal relationship between the fall and stroke, which occurred more than a day later. However, Mr. Shapiro retained medical experts, including a neurologist, who rendered an opinion that the stroke was most likely the result of a condition known as fat emboli syndrome, which results from fat contained in a person’s bone marrow being released into the bloodstream and travelling to the brain, where it causes damage. The case settled on the eve of trial for $940,000.
Mr. Shapiro’s client was attacked in a Manhattan building by an unidentified perpetrator who was never apprehended. This assailant followed her into the building’s elevator and then launched a vicious attack. Mr. Shapiro commenced an action against the building alleging negligent supervision and security. The building claimed that it had no notice of any prior dangerous conditions and that a perpetrator against whom it had no control carried out the assault. After Mr. Shapiro filed a motion to strike defendant’s answer for failure to produce various documents and evidence in the discovery phase of the case, the Court ordered that liability was to be established against defendant. Defendant appealed the decision, arguing that the trial court erred in ruling in favor of plaintiff. Mr. Shapiro represented his client in the Appellate Court. After the matter was extensively briefed and argued by the parties, the Appellate court decided the case in favor of Plaintiff. The primary injuries claimed by Plaintiff included post-traumatic stress disorder and TMJ. Defense argued that plaintiff had no permanent injuries, made an excellent recovery, that after the incident she went to work and received promotions, and that the treating dentist did not document TMJ for years after the accident. Mr. Shapiro retained experts to testify on the issue of post-traumatic stress and that it is a permanent lifelong condition. He also retained a top expert in the field of TMJ disorders to evaluate plaintiff and to testify. After the victory in the appellate court, the case settled after jury selection.
Medical Malpractice $700,000 recovery against a major hospital for the delay in diagnosing a pulmonary embolism in a 50-year old patient. Mr. Shapiro's client presented to the ER, and initially, the client was diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia. Although the symptoms our client had been consistent with pneumonia, differential diagnosis was a pulmonary embolism, which required the hospital to conduct certain diagnostic studies to rule it out. The client was discharged from the hospital ER but was brought back a few days later, at which point a proper diagnosis was made. In the civil action commenced by Mr. Shapiro in the Supreme Court for the County of Kings, the defendants argued that there was no malpractice on their part because the patient's symptoms were most consistent with pneumonia. Defendants also argued that the course of treatment for the patient would have remained the same irrespective of the timing of their diagnosis and that the few day delay in establishing the diagnosis did not change the ultimate course of treatment and outcome for the patient. The defense also argued that the plaintiff made a good recovery. However, Mr. Shapiro submitted expert witness evidence establishing that a pulmonary embolism was a differential diagnosis and that the defendants deviated from the accepted standard of care by failing to run appropriate studies, and that if a proper diagnosis was done upon initial ER visit, then a pulmonary embolectomy would like been avoided. In addition, in response to Mr. Shapiro's questioning at a defendant deposition, the ER physician made admissions raising serious concerns that hospital records were changed after the fact. A settlement was reached pre-trial.